EPISCOPAL CHURCH, IN THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA.
BISHOP OF THE DIOCESE OF NORTH CAROLINA.
GEORGE & WAYNE, NO. 26 SOUTH FIFTH STREET.
KING AND BAIRD, PRINTERS.
LORD, WE PRAY THEE, THAT THY GRACE MAY ALWAYS PREVENT AND FOLLOW US; AND MAKE US CONTINUALLY TO BE GIVEN TO ALL GOOD WORKS, THROUGH JESUS CHRIST OUR LORD. AMEN.
The prophet represents these words as having been spoken by wicked men--men under such strong delusion as to appear "wise and prudent in their own sight," notwithstanding their open contempt of God's judgments and their eager pursuit in the ways of sin. But, without doing violence to their special import, I think, we may fairly consider them as indicating the great, the universal struggle of sense against faith. A struggle which has been going on in our world, ever since the first human pair, in strange disbelief of God under instigation of the devil, took of the fatal tree, "when they saw it was good for food, and pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one WISE." This, then, is the awful subject which now claims our attention--the struggle of sense against faith. Sense, in its largest scope; Faith, as restricted and [3/4] defined by the Gospel. Sense, teaching men "to lay up treasures on earth, to make provision for the flesh, to walk according to the course of this world, to walk by sight, walk by the light of their own fire," to put confidence in temporal things, to be proud of themselves, to rely upon their own wisdom, make their perceptions the measure of their belief, to pry into mysteries, to question everything not comprehensible, to venture nothing for the soul, to "judge from the outward appearance"--judge hastily and confidently upon the deepest things, condemn truth which cannot be fathomed, separate means from an end where the connexion cannot be distinctly traced, to take nothing upon the mere authority of Almighty GOD--but to subject everything to human skill and experience, and to interpose new instruments and systems where the old ones of the Gospel seem too slow or uncertain in their results. This is sense in its struggle with faith. Faith, opening the view to an invisible world, concentrating the powers upon the attainment of invisible things; turning the heart away from the counsels of sense, and inspiring in it a conviction of infallible certainty in the revelations of God. Faith, disclosing the dangers of the soul from "the deceitful lusts" of the body, and making men desire, above all things, to be "transformed by the renewing of their minds"--to "have their life hid with Christ in God." Faith, leading men to fear themselves--their own wisdom, the conclusions of their own minds--to feel [4/5] that they "are not sufficient of themselves to think any thing as of themselves," and to pray with the trembling Psalmist--"Try me, O God, and seek the ground of my heart; prove me, and examine my thoughts. Look well if there be any way of wickedness in me, and lead me in the way everlasting." Faith, infusing into the heart of man, the spirit of a little child, placing him in quiet and affectionate confidence at the feet of Jesus, to learn of HIM, to rest upon His words, however mysterious, to be guided by His counsels, however trying to the flesh; to believe and adore, where sense would presume and cavil; to hasten to obey, where sense would wait to be convinced. Faith, "glorying only in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ"--binding the heart and mind and life to Him, "who is Head over all things unto the church;" making men tranquil and valiant and enduring in their union with Him, but fearful of stepping beyond the sphere of His influence, the limits of His covenant, the defences of His Church--His Church the purchase of His blood, the object of His dearest love, His body and His spouse; making them eager for His near fellowship; but patient under the delays of His providence--faithful, humble, prayerful, watchful under the hidings of his face, ever ready to bow meekly to His decrees, to breathe His spirit, while bending beneath the weight of His mysterious and chastening power; ever afraid of themselves, and ever uttering the prayer--"Not my will, but thine be [5/6] done." With such a Faith it is, that sense, in its countless shapes, maintains unceasing warfare.
Let us examine some of the particulars of this conflict.
I. First, as it relates to the lower passions of our nature. And here you need not be detained. For here, it is too sadly manifest that "the flesh lusteth always against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh, and that these are contrary the one to the other." Hence we find, as the very first demand of the Gospel--"If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross and follow me;" and, as founded upon this, the first appeal of the holy Church to the candidate for eternal life--"Dost thou renounce the Devil and all his works, the vain pomp and glory of the world, with all covetous desires of the same, and the sinful desires of the flesh, so that thou wilt not follow, nor be led by them?" Against this self-renunciation, sense, as we all know too well--who know anything of the life of faith--is making the most untiring and vigorous struggle. A struggle rendered especially fearful, by the power of sense to pervert and blind the understanding; to make things of the very highest excellence, appear valueless and distasteful; things near at hand, things affecting us more or less every moment, and every moment liable to fasten upon us their influence for eternity, appear remote from us, and not essentially connected with our interests; things of the deepest [6/7] reality, the most awful concern, only speculative and doubtful in their character;--to make the mind demand proof of that which is inscribed in the broadest lines upon everything around it--demand "let Him make speed and hasten his work that we may see it"--when that work is really exhibited, and with marvellous distinctness, in the mind's own mysterious operations--wrought into the very web of its own wonderful experience--made manifest in its own thoughts, and conflicts, and fearful presentiments;--when it has, in its own convictions, the proof, that "the way of transgressors is hard"--"the wages of sin is death"--that "verily there is a reward for the righteous, verily there is a GOD that judgeth in the earth." Thus the "natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness unto him; neither can he know them because they are spiritually discerned." And thus is sense, in its lowest meaning, at irreconcilable war with Faith.
II. But let us ascend a little in our examination. Let us consider some of those things which men are wont to regard as, in themselves, proper, or, at least, harmless--some one of those passions, the indulgence of which, is, in a certain degree, looked upon as consistent with the Christian life. The passion of gain is one of them. By which I mean the pursuit of riches for their own sake, or for the worldly gratifications which they enable us to procure--the gratification of our appetites and tastes, of being thought rich, [7/8] having a large establishment, and leaving large possessions to our posterity. Now what has the gospel made plainer--more affectingly certain--than that this passion, both in its nature and tendency, is totally repugnant to the aspirations and pursuits of faith? Its nature consists in loving money, in being covetous of earthly things--a love, which God, in his word, denounces as "the root of all evil," a covetousness which He "abhorreth" as the sin of "idolatry;" its tendency is to make men seek to be rich,--a state, which, by the declaration of our Lord, almost inevitably excludes them from the kingdom of heaven--to make them grasping and penurious, ever reaching after more, and reluctant to dispense--a disposition, the very opposite to that which is enjoined as the characteristic of His followers--"He that forsaketh not all that he hath cannot be my disciple." Mark too the awful power of this passion for gain as seen in the examples of Judas and the young man in the parable--Judas, the professed friend and disciple of our Lord, betraying him for "thirty pieces of silver"--The young man, oppressed by the awful concerns of the soul--the overwhelming necessity of securing an inheritance in the life to come--actually abandoning the pursuit for the paltry consideration of an earthly estate. As if the Gospel would thus show us how this passion is capable of palming upon man the most shocking deceits--girding up his mind to the resistance of the most overpowering truths, steeling his heart to [8/9] the most subduing sympathies of our nature--and leading him on step by step to the most fatal decisions; thus placing the results of this passion in melancholy contrast with the triumphs of faith. Faith, prompting the holy Paul, though an heir to large worldly expectations, to sacrifice all at the altar of Jesus, and "endure all things for the elect's sake;" prompting the Gospel saints, rich in this world's goods, to impart to their poor brethren, as each had need, and to count it their highest privilege, their greatest gain, to be allowed to lay their possessions at the feet of Him who died to redeem their souls. In the face of all this, what is the spirit which at the present has manifest sway in the hearts of the great body of professing christians? The week-day prayers of the Sanctuary are now uttered within almost empty walls--the family altar is only here and there set up--the devotions of the closet, from having in holier times been offered seven times a day, have dwindled to perhaps two short prayers usually hurried through under the exhaustion or distraction of a spirit overworked in the business of the world. The poor are passed by, as if they were not committed to our trust. Thousands, almost within reach of our voice, are groping in ignorance, grovelling in vice, and hurrying on in the way to destruction; while the cry comes up from other lands in behalf of souls famishing for "that bread which giveth life unto the world." And the church, the divinely commissioned dispenser of a [9/10] Saviour's love, begs and entreats for aid to enable her to fulfil her holy office; but begs and entreats in vain. Ignorance and error, and ungodliness more than keep pace with her work of love. Her members, it is true, applaud her charity, boast of her privileges, and dare to hope for salvation through her once suffering Head:--but still, as respects the bulk of them, their thoughts and sympathies and exertions are not with her. These alas! are given to her great enemy, the world. "They lay up treasures for themselves, but are not rich towards God." They "look on their own things, and not on the things of Jesus Christ." And these people are called Christians! Profess to have the mind and spirit of Him, who "so loved the church, that he gave Himself for it"--to have a part, to be co-workers with Him, "who for our sakes became poor,"--had no resting place for His weary limbs--but renounced every thing earthly, that he might raise us to things heavenly. Yes, it is with such a Being, such a cause, such a system of self-sacrifice, that these persons profess to have the most vital, heartfelt connexion; and yet, as I said, they seek their own pleasures, consult their own ease, regard themselves as having entire control over their own time, their own movements, their own gains; just as if they were the children of this world, under the sway of the God of this world, and to have their eternal recompense from this world. And what strikes one as especially sad in the matter, is, their apparent unconsciousness of anything [10/11] strange or wrong, or inconsistent or dangerous in their condition; their surprise indeed that any one should consider their persons and professions as not their own--their surprise that they should not, after all they have done, be regarded as sufficiently charitable, self-denying, and mindful of the things of God! Behold, brethren, the struggle of sense against faith! Alas, I should rather have said, the triumphs of sense over faith. For really in most cases all struggle here seems to be passed, and a perfect self-satisfaction to ensue from an absolute surrender of soul and body to the power of the world!
III. But let us go on. These are only symptoms. We may by and by, perhaps, get at the source of the disease. The point which now presents itself brings us a step higher in our enquiry; opens to us the conflicts of a sensualized reason with faith, in the reception of the gospel of Christ. To discover how far reason has here prevailed, or is pressing for victory, it will be well to enquire, as to the precise office which the Gospel has assigned it in our submission to revealed truth. And, in the outset, it might surely be presupposed, after the false part which reason played in blinding our first parents to the truth of God, and leading them to believe a lie--that its office would be a very low one under the Gospel--one in which there would be little scope for deception. And, indeed, on opening this Gospel we find it to be so--find that the only thing there allowed to reason, is to judge of a [11/12] few facts, given in proof of the divine mission of our Lord; facts too plain to admit of any high exercise of the mental powers--too palpable to elude the comprehension of the most common and unenlightened understanding. This was the sole office of reason before the communication of new and more spiritual perceptions. The mighty works of Jesus were laid before it; and it was commanded, upon the all-sufficient proof which they furnish, to receive Him as the Messiah, and his gospel as "the words of eternal life." When, however, the deep and wonderful truths of this gospel were unfolded, reason was to bow in silent acquiescence, and faith be permitted to lead the sinner to instant and unquestioning obedience. And this was made needful from the very state of reason itself; because "the carnal mind" through pride, "is at enmity with God"--"can neither be subject to His law, nor discern the things of His spirit;" because its invariable tendencies to evil require it to be under a new bias, a changed will, in order to its fellowship with God. This, therefore, was provided for; a new nature was first offered; the channel of a divine power first opened; "the preparation of the heart" first secured, that the action of the mind might be safe and available. Hence, in the order of the gospel, "doing" came before "knowing:" "Taking the yoke of Christ," before "learning of Him"--"If any man will do His will, he shall know of the doctrine--Take my yoke upon you and learn of me." Hence too a [12/13] submissive and teachable mind must precede an admission into his church--"and Jesus took a little child, and set him in the midst of them and said, except ye be converted and become as little children, ye cannot enter into the kingdom of heaven;--whosoever humbleth himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven." And in every thing He did, at the opening of His mysterious dispensation of love, our Lord seemed to be preparing the reason of men for submission to their faith. He made His appearance among them and claimed to be respected as "God manifest in the flesh." But His outward form was like that of other men. So also were His bodily wants. He was born and nursed as a common child; "grew in wisdom and stature" like others; and when grown, was subject to hunger and fatigue and suffering as others. So that no one, not even His near relatives, seemed to suspect at first that He was anything more than a mere man. And even after He began to speak "as never man spake," and to do works which none but God could give power to do, reason was still staggered at His high claim; and Faith only, in here and there an instance, discerned and was overawed by the glimpses of His divinity, and trembling bowed before Him as "God with us." His obedience too was equally incomprehensible to human reason. He was God, and needed none to help Him, and yet He prayed--spent whole nights in prayer. He was immaculate, exempt from the sinful impulses of the flesh, and [13/14] yet He fasted--fasted many days together. How mysterious, how confounding to scnss--to Him who walks by sight! Faith, however, beholding Jesus as the Divine Head of "the Church which is His body," acknowledges the weight of His example, and, in silence, hastens to obey. And then, as to the ground of obedience--its constraining motive--the power of Christ's love, how deeply was it involved in mystery. How little could be known of the length and breadth, the height and depth of that amazing scheme which exhibited towards us, the love of God in Christ. "God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son." "While we were yet enemies Christ died for us." Wonderful truth! And yet how little reason could know about it, beyond the mere fact that it was so. Faith alone could comprehend and realize that love of Christ "which passeth knowledge." And in agreement with all this, was the method instituted by our Lord, for bringing us into union with himself--imparting to us that new life, that divine nature, which must precede all "good works, pleasant and acceptable to God." "Except a man be born again, born of water and of the spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God." "As many of you as are baptised into Christ, have put on Christ." "By one spirit we are all baptised into one body." "I am the vine, ye are the branches; he that abideth in me and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit--for without me ye can do nothing." Vast and [14/15] inestimable blessing! And yet how simple the means of its conveyance--how totally unequal to the effect promised through their instrumentality; how perfectly unintelligible to human reason. Reason, at once, exclaimed, "How can these things be?" The divine teacher put aside the useless and irreverent enquiry, only by reminding the objector that there was mystery in everything. "Marvel not at the incomprehensible nature of this new birth by water and the Holy Ghost," he would say, "Seeing you can know nothing of the origin and place even of the winds that circulate around you." The same difficulty too confronted human reason, upon being called for spiritual nourishment to the other divine Sacrament. "Take, eat, this is my body: drink ye all of this, for this is my blood," commands the divine Saviour of our souls. "How can this man give us His flesh to eat," is the response of offended reason. No explanation, however, is granted--only the awful consequences of disobedience urged--"Except ye eat the flesh of the son of man, and drink his blood, ye have no life in you." "The words that I speak unto you, they are spirit and they are life." "The outward visible sign" in itself profiteth nothing--it is "the inward spiritual grace" that imparts vigour and refreshment to the soul. To reason this gave no satisfaction; it was still a hard saying; and they who walked by the light of their own mind, went back and walked no more with Jesus." [15/16] And, indeed, the whole fellowship of our Lord with His true worshippers was, to sense, equally incomprehensible. "I will not leave you comfortless, I will come to you. Yet a little while and the world seeth me no more; but ye see me; because I live, ye shall live also. He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father--and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him. And the glory which thou gavest me, have I given them, that they may be made perfect in one." "I will dwell in them, and walk in them, and I will be their God and they shall be my people." "Ye are come unto Mount Zion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels; to the general assembly, and church of the first born--and to God, the judge of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect, and to Jesus the mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling that speaketh better things than that of Abel." Here is a representation of the communion of our Lord with his saints and the household of God, perfectly confounding to sense--as inconceivable, except, by the power of faith, as the mysterious union of "three persons in one God."
Now what has been the effect of this mystery in the Gospel upon the proud mind of man? We might have looked for resistance--for cavil--for presumptuous enquiry--for arrogant disobedience, from [16/17] the results of the same mystery, under a previous dispensation. Our first parents, not comprehending how such awful consequences could hang upon the simple act of eating a bit of fruit, took of the fatal tree. Cain, unable to conceive why the fruits of the ground were not as good an offering to God as the firstling of the flock, followed the devices of his own heart. Naaman, perceiving no more virtue in the hated waters of Jordan than in the rivers of his own country, proudly turned from the appointment of God. And so was it with Israel in all their complaints and rebellions; they "walked by sight;" followed the imagination of an evil heart; insisted upon knowing the reason of things which God had sealed up in mystery. Their own understandings must be convinced--their own sense of the fitness of things must approve, before they would yield obedience. And hence, the threatenings and scourgings which their pride and obduracy continually received from the hand of God. Sense, under the Gospel, has not materially changed. Reason, in her pride, still strives for the mastery, still struggles and demands that the mysteries be opened, that Faith be "enlightened"--know the why and the wherefore, before she consents to the guidance of Him, "in whom are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge." Christ may say, "Verily whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of God as a little child, shall in no wise enter therein;"--still reason warns against such childlike submission, [17/18] as the very parent of superstition. St. Paul may say, "the things of God, knoweth no man, but the spirit of God;" notwithstanding reason insists, that this spirit can come into our hearts only through our minds, or our previous perceptions of truth. John the Baptist may be "filled with the Holy Ghost from his mother's womb;" and the children of a believing parent may by an apostle be called "holy;" and still reason deny that infants receive grace in baptism; because their minds are not open to receive it. Such was the "science, falsely so called"--"the knowledge that puffeth up," which corrupted men from the simplicity of the faith, in the days of Simon Magus and Cerinthus; which filled the Church with sadness and discord, when Arius and Pelagius and Nestorius, with others, each in their turn, dared to question the Catholic faith; which ventured upon the irreverent attempt to lift the veil from the most sacred, most awful mystery of the Gospel, when papal Rome, under her false system of developement, incurred the anathema of the Catholic Church, in essaying to define the nature of the presence of our blessed Lord in the Holy Eucharist, and unlawfully and wickedly, to force that definition upon the consciences of her adherents, as an article of faith, necessary to salvation; [See decrees both of Ephesus and Chalcedon.] and when, under the same vain-glorious spirit, she arrogated to herself the power to annul the command of Jesus, and withhold the "cup of blessing" from His [18/19] thirsting children. And it is this pride of reason struggling against humble faith, which, in these later days, has been the curse of Germany and Geneva, and New England; and has infused the blighting spirit of Socinianism more or less into all the modern systems of dissent, and even--God forgive us--into the heart of the Holy Church; engendering irreverence for eternal truth, disregard to God's appointments, a high conceit of human wisdom, and freedom; an obstinate rejection of whatever bears not the test of man's perception and experience; and resulting in self-justification for doing whatsoever is "right in his own eyes;" in an arrogant demand--"Let Him make speed and hasten His work, that we may see; and let the counsel of the Holy One draw near and come that we may know it."
IV. And as connected with this, in conclusion, is the natural impatience of man, which sense avails itself of, in its struggle with Faith. (1.) This is seen in the troubles and mistakes of individuals in working out their salvation. The oracles of God make this work plainly progressive--wrought out by constant, and to the Christian, insensible gradations. The inspired Solomon says, in regard to it, "the path of the just is as the shining light, which shines more and more unto the perfect day." The divine teacher likens it to the gradual growth of vegetation--"First the blade, then the ear, then the full corn in the ear." The holy Paul compares it to the slow progress of infancy to manhood--"Being babes in Christ, we are to be nourished up to the fulness of His stature." It [19/20] requires, however, a strong Faith to acquiesce in, and be satisfied with this process. Sense regards it as too slow and irksome and unsatisfactory. She is weighed down by a spirit of indolence, which unfits her for a work requiring daily and habitual watchfulness, self-sacrifice, and prayer. She is ready, therefore, to make experiments in religion--to seize upon whatever may promise her less labour or greater "speed" in its attainments; promise her a dispensation from painful "watchings and fastings" and mortifications of the flesh, in "overcoming the world and making her calling and election sure;" promise her, by a few hours of excited feeling, of spiritual paroxysm, to make her way clear and pleasurable to the kingdom of glory. Besides, Sense feeds upon excitement, upon sensible impressions--seeks for evidence of acceptance with God in the warmth and ebullition of feeling, and not in a growing conformity of soul and body to the image and life and law of Christ. She cannot wait for proof of the "good tree," in its gradual and steady and healthful growth--it must be forced by artificial means, to a sudden maturity;--"Let Him make speed and hasten his work that we may see it," is her impatient demand. The consequence is, that many well-meaning Christians, instead of yielding, under the quiet and enduring spirit of Faith, to the obedience of the Gospel, are spending their probation in searching for, or in some way endeavoring to make out, a title to the blessings of conversion, or a sensible assurance of having been [20/21] born again. (2.) This impatience of Sense has been developed too, in the schemes, which bodies of professed Christians have resorted to for hastening "the growth of grace," or bringing men into full fellowship with Christ. That means, beyond the express institutions of the Gospel, provided they are in strict agreement with the spirit of these institutions and tend to carry them to their legitimate results, may be lawfully and safely used in the Christian church, it cannot be denied. But the schemes to which I here have reference, as the fruit of impatience, are such as are actually put in the place of Gospel institutions, designed to produce at once and more sensibly those effects which Gospel institutions are looked upon as producing, if at all, too slowly, silently and imperceptibly. Now that there are such schemes, no one can doubt, who has his eyes open to the new and multiplied and ever-changing systems, which, for the last fifty years have been devised and set in motion for converting or restraining men. By this remark, I do not mean to confine the workings of this religious impatience to the last fifty years, for in fact its operation may be clearly traced along the path of the Church since the days of Constantine; traced, in some of those powerful monastic institutions, which wholly merged the simple and affecting ordinances of the Gospel in their own pompous and showy ceremonial; and substituted for acts of true evangelical charity and self-renunciation, the vain penance of pilgrimages, and the hardships of a useless and vagrant life. But what we are mainly [21/22] concerned with, as being daily called to combat, are those schemes or "new measures" among us, which, impatient of the restraints and slow progress of Gospel institutions, promise a higher efficacy, a more speedy and manifest result. The popularity of such schemes should not surprise us. Originating as they do in the natural impatience of man, and fed as they are by this same spirit of over-anxiety for effects, it would be wonderful indeed, if they did not, for a time, outstrip the Gospel in their career--did not, in an age, when the almost universal cry is, "let him make speed and hasten his work that we may see it," find multitudes pressing to its standard.
But the way of the Gospel is narrow, its gate is strait, its travellers walk by faith--are toilsome, and patient, and enduring, and hence, "few there be that find it"--hence the true children of the kingdom are "a little flock." Let the Church learn patience, and self-denial, the mother of patience. We all desire to see the Gospel in the Church, having a freer course, fulfiling more entirely her high and glorious office. But we must learn to wait God's time. He throws impediments in our way, for the very purpose of learning us to restrain our own wishes--our impatient longings, and to submit implicitly and quietly to the guidance of His providence--the movements of His Spirit. We must take the lesson to our hearts. And when we have become sufficiently perfect in it--when faith has triumphed over sense, and personal self-denial and holiness have fitted us for so great a blessing, God [22/23] will doubtless make the way clear before His Church, that His Gospel, in our hands, "may have free course and be glorified."
(3.) Finally, Sense, aided by this spirit of impatience, is signally triumphant in seasons of the Church's trial, or commotion from intestine broils. Even good men are not here exempt. But filled with sincere anxiety for the preservation of truth, they are liable to be thrown into panic at every apparent assault upon it--to become hasty in their judgments--precipitate and impetuous in their action--magnifying danger, and their own importance in averting it; forgetting that their brethren have rights and intellects and consciences equally with themselves, and that, after all, they themselves may be mainly in fault--at least, that their brethren, if erring, may more easily be won by moderation than intimidated and overcome by threats; forgetting that, in using against them craft and violence--calling down fire from heaven upon them, they are far more likely to gain a rebuke from their meek and lowly Master, than a victory for His kingdom; far more likely to be smitten for their fear than rewarded for their zeal in thus presumptuously putting their hand to the ark of God. How different at such times are the effects of Faith. Faith, looking beyond the feeble intervention of men and calmly resting upon the unfailing promise of Almighty God--looking upon the Church as the body of Christ--linked to Him by the bonds of an everlasting love, which, by the pledge of His omnipotence, no visible nor invisible [23/24] power can sever--counting little upon human favour, and fearing less the menaces of human self-sufficiency, while she is permitted to entrench herself within the bulwarks of His gracious covenant, to cast her hope upon the assurance of His presence, and refresh her energies and courage at the fountains of his grace. Faith, triumphing over the impulses of a selfish nature--rising above the paltry enticements of party struggle--losing all aspirations for party victory in fervent longings and prayers for the triumphs of redeeming and sanctifying love. Faith, animated and sustained by that charity "which suffereth long and is kind--which believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things--which never faileth." O Fathers and Brethren of this Convention, as we love God, as we love His crucified Son, as we love His Holy Church, let us, as together we bow before His altar, humbly, fervently, unitedly pray for that "Faith which overcometh the world--which quencheth all the fiery darts of the wicked." We need that Faith--never have needed--never shall need it, more--that Faith which works by love--that faith, which, overleaping the causes of mutual distrust, crimination and harsh judgment here, will place us face to face before the bar of God; which will bring around us and keep before us the scenes of that awful day, when we shall realize the full weight and solemnity of the command--"forbear one another in love"--"forgive, and ye shall be forgiven!"